Clip number sixty-two - recorded today (Sunday 7th August 2011) at around 1700hrs BST and uploaded here on the same day at around 1800hrs BST.
I am uploading this final clip a week after our adult female left our roof after three hectic months in our roof - raising two boisterous young swifts with her partner this year.
We've had an incredible year here at "Swift Half".
Last year - it was all plain sailing, as our two adults raised two young swifts with no fights with other swifts over the nest space in the roof of Swift Half. All our swifts had left well before the end of July 2010 - to head to the Congo - where they spend the majority of their year.
This year though, even though our male returned on time (23rd April 2011), our original female was very late back - so late in fact that a "chancer female" had taken her place and three eggs had already been laid in her nest space.
She returned eventually on May 18th (many swifts did seem to return late to Britain to breed this year) and after a seven hour fight with the chancer female, she reclaimed her nest space and her partner from the previous years. (Swifts tend to be monogamous if at all possible - but do not spend the whole year in their pairs - each year the pair has to re-establish itself at its traditional breeding spot).
She soon set about rejecting the eggs that had been laid by the chancer female and then eventually laid her own two eggs (too late for three by then!)
On 30th July at dusk our first juvenile swift left the roof followed by it's father on 31st at dawn.
The youngest juvenile swift was left on its own for its entire last day on the last day of July this year, until its mother returned to roost at dusk. She gave it no meal when she returned - and it fledged that same evening - on the 31st July at dusk.
The adult female thus roosted on her own in our roof, but left for good herself at around 0730hrs BST on Sunday August 1st 2011.
For the first time since April 23rd 2011, our roof was without swifts.
The last swift I've seen in the air this year (in the area) was on the 3rd August - but I've not seen any since.
What an incredible year!
So, here we are, a week after our roof gave up its swifts - and they're all heading (back in the case of the adults) to sub-Saharan Africa - probably around the Congo somewhere. It'll take them a wee while to get there - and we wish these incredible birds all the best.
My wife and I move house shortly, so even though we know that our swifts will be back at "Swift Half" next April or May, we won't see them or be able to film them. I'll do my best to attract swifts to our new house, but that may well take some years....
Anna and I hope to catch up with some swifts in Turkey very soon, before they hit Africa - we tend to head south with the swifts each year!
Many thanks for watching our swifts with us this year - we hope you've enjoyed the footage.
I was going to condense over 5 hours of clips into a ten minute montage - but it proved impossible I'm afraid - so much happened in the roof this year!
That said, if you do want to see any of this years footage - it is all still available to view on my youtube account, in full, in order, here - accompanying, explanatory commentary posts can be found throughout April, May, June , July and August 2011 on my blog, here - and if there's anyone reading this who has enjoyed stopping by this site to watch our super swifts this year, I wonder if you'd be kind enough to write a little comment in this site's guestbook.
nest next time,
Doug, Anna and our beautiful swifts at "Swift Half".
This page will be left as is for a month or two.
7th August, 2011.